When being served be kind, human, generous

Charlie Adley
Charlie Adley

Double Vision with Charlie Adley

“Bloomin’ eck, is it just me, or are these desserts taking a long time? I mean, the mains came really quickly, but we’ve been waiting ages for dessert. It’s been yonks!” It’s always a treat to eat out, and thanks to the gastronomic revolution that’s taken place in Ireland over the last 20 years, you can now find lovely yet not exorbitantly expensive pub food, and end up feeling a little bit special for a couple of hours or so.

However, as we wait for our desserts in this Connemara pub, I allow impatient thoughts to tumble around my brainbox: ‘Isn’t too much to ask, is it? Must’ve been twenty minutes now, since that waiter was here and this wait is spoiling a lovely evening out, and mutter grumble moan groan …’

Finally, slightly irritated that herself appears wonderfully unperturbed, I decide that it’s time to recruit the Snapper onside, to light the fires of indignation within her belly.

“I mean, how long does it take to scoop a bit of bloody ice cream?”

The Snapper looks over at me with that marriage cocktail of 3-parts familiarity and 1-part contempt.

“But Charlie, we haven’t even ordered dessert yet.”

“What?”

“The waiter came over and asked if we’d made up our minds. You were lost in a quandary about sticky toffee pudding and pistachio ice cream, so I asked him for a couple more minutes.”

“Really? Oh bugger. How long ago was that?”

For once, I’m delighted to be in the wrong, because thankfully I haven’t yet verbally abused an innocent waiter. Something dangerous happens to certain human beings when they are being served.

A little like road rage, we suddenly and irrationally see ourselves as the single most important and powerful person on the planet, for whom all must run perfectly. Having been a barman for years in my youth, and befriended many chefs and waiters, I know all too well what it’s like to serve people like me, and therefore respect and honour good service by smiling, saying thanks, and because I know it’s a vital part of a server’s wages, leaving a chunky tip.

Shame that others don’t do the same.

To read Charlie’s column in full, please read this week’s Galway City Tribune.